If you did not know by my Twitter handle, I played ball at Northwestern University. With my five years of experience there, if there is one thing I at least somewhat know when it comes to college football, it’s the Big Ten. I’ve played in front of 4,000 people at 11:00am in West Lafayette, Indiana when its 37 degrees, overcast and windy, while the 15 students that actually came to the game haplessly chant ‘Boiler Up’ as we stomp them by 30.
I’ve also played in the Big House in front of 120,000 fans where we got stomped by 30 and it was so loud I couldn’t hear myself think, let alone hear a snap count. Goddamnit, the Big Ten is special. Throughout the year I will be giving you my picks and previews for the Conference. So, put your big boy pants on, drop your SEC bias and let’s talk some Big Ten football.
Ohio State vs. Nebraska, 11/3 12:00pm
The play: OSU -17.5
As the main driver of the ‘Purdue is the most undervalued team in the country’ bus (no longer true), I absolutely loved seeing Brohm and the boys taking it to Ohio State. So, where does that leave us today? A perfect buy low spot on the Buckeyes. Despite some rumblings in Columbus about discontent with Urban, he is still a hell of a coach and give me him coming off a bye with a pissed off team after an upset loss.
One thing Urban is great at it is
covering up domestic abuse and perpetuating am institutional-level top-down toxic culture continuing to suffocate teams when they are up big. Nebraska’s defense STINKS and OSU’s front should get to Martinez, give me the Buckeyes in a rout.
Michigan State vs. Maryland, 1/3 12:00pm
The play: Maryland +3
I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT.
I, sitting here today, am officially making Maryland +3 my “BIG TEN, RUN THE BALL, PUNT THE BALL, DJ DURKIN IS REINSTATED, NVM HE’S FIRED, TEAM RALLIES AROUND THE JUSTICE BROUGHT TO THE DEATH OF THEIR TEAMMATE, HOME-DOG LOCK OF THE WEEK”
In all seriousness, first and foremost, RIP Jordan McNair. An absolute tragedy and I feel for the McNair family and everyone around the Maryland program. From a gambling perspective, I actually love this spot for Maryland. Not only does Michigan State kind of stink, but when you break it down, nothing has changed for Maryland here. Durkin was reinstated for about 12 hours, then was fired, and now they are back in the same place they were at the start of the week, with the same coach and the same game plan.
Furthermore, Vegas agrees with me. Despite 76% of bets on MSU, amidst all of this news, the line has stayed put at 3 and has even moved to 2.5 in some places. That is significant Reverse Line Movement when you consider the size of the bet disparity and the movement off of a key number. Give me the Terps outright as they rally around their fallen teammate.
RIP Jordan McNair.
Iowa vs. Purdue, 11/3 3:30 pm
The play: Purdue -2
This game is tough to handicap. I haven’t really decided how I feel about Iowa yet and Purdue is a team that has shown incredible flashes but also can lose to anyone in the country (welcome to club Purdue, Northwestern has been looking for a companion for years). However, the angle I am choosing to side with is that Brohm clearly is a coach who plays on emotion and in order to stay alive in the Big Ten West, they need this game.
Additionally, we have seen the line move a full point against public action (60/40 bet disparity in favor of Iowa). In a game where I don’t really see an edge, I’ll ride with the pros and take Purdue (definitely has nothing to do with the fact that if Purdue wins, Northwestern is all but guaranteed the West)
Penn State vs. Michigan, 11/3 3:45 pm
The play: PSU +11
Speaking of coaches who coach off emotion, Harbaugh has had Michigan on a tear. I have sat here many a time and told you that I am not a Harbaugh believer and think that he is more shtick than an actual coach. And while that take does not look like it is holding up as well as I thought this year, I still think there is a lot of truth in that underlying sentiment. I think this line is too big and PSU’s offense is too good to be 11-point dogs against an average offense on the other side of the field. PSU’s keeps it in the number.
Notre Dame vs. Northwestern, 11/3 7:30pm
The play: Northwestern +9.5
Okay, people. Listen here. I do not love this spot for the Cats. We just had one of our biggest wins of last 10 years beating Wisconsin to take control of the Big Ten West and we play Iowa, in Iowa City, next week in a game that effectively decides the West. This game means everything to Notre Dame and, to be frank, it matters a lot less to Northwestern.
So, there are two ways to look at this game. Either ND gets up early, and NU just doesn’t have the fire to keep it close and they pack it in and get ready for Iowa. OR NU plays loose, plays like they have nothing to lose (they don’t) and catches a tight Irish team who is bracing for a pesky NU team at home. GIVE ME THE SECOND OPTION. Take the CATS and the points.